Good Friday morning Caps fans, hoped you enjoyed your short window of soccer-related optimism before it was unceremoniously crushed on Wednesday night. I mean, given the team we root for, we should be used to it, right?
I noted this in the post match and was mocked slightly for it in the comments (not unfairly). But I actually think the 6-0 drubbing by LAFC, which came a whisker away from matching an MLS record, was a net positive. Here’s why.
If the Caps had shithoused their way to a playoff spot (which was not outside the realm of possibility and still isn’t, I suppose) by continuing the relatively good form they showed against Montreal and RSL, ownership might have been tempted to give MDS another year at the helm.
I suppose you can argue that, if the Caps made the playoffs, that wouldn’t be undeserved but I think we all can agree by now that change is needed. Getting publicly embarrassed is the only thing that appears to get management’s attention in Vancouver and the Caps certainly were sufficiently humiliated Wednesday night. I gotta think that’s enough to ensure MDS, who I like on a personal level and hope finds success post-Vancouver somewhere, is nonetheless replaced.
Another quick note before the links.
In a gaggle with reporters yesterday, Axel Schuster talked a bit about the club’s paradigm going forward, among other topics.
Now, I like Axel a lot and find his directness and frankness with the media to be refreshing (and very characteristic of a German). But one thing he said made me raise my eyebrows.
.@WhitecapsFC's Axel Schuster spoke to media today. Lots of interesting info, incl this:— Charles Boehm (@cboehm) September 25, 2020
"One of my role models is Philadelphia, the way that they built the team over years ... if we are able to be there in 2-3 years, I think, then also the season ticket holders will come back"
I mean, Schuster is right. This is the model the Caps should be following, although I think the notion that he is basically throwing in the towel for getting fans to resume faith in the team for 2-3 years is kind of funny.
But Caleb Wilkins, my colleague, made the point that instantly popped into my head ... isn’t this what we have been doing? It’s not like the Caps were like Atlanta United and dropping cash on foreign talent and suddenly realized “hey, we should just Moneyball this thing.”
The Union have relied on less expensive foreign signings and an excellent youth system in recent years to build a playoff contender. A good model for the team! But...
The irony is, I think Schuster is the kind of guy who can make this model work. One would hope he understands how important the academy is to the team’s development after how Michael Baldisimo and Thomas Hasal have played this year. And he is much better at Moneyball-type signings than the ancien regime was (hello David Milinkovic!).
But it took the Union much longer than 2-3 years to reach the level they’re at now. There was much suffering and gnashing of teeth among that fanbase as well regarding its progress towards becoming a playoff-level team.
We already are at that point as a franchise. Another 2 or 3 years of results like Wednesday? That’s going to be tough to take.
Time for some links...
Shameless Self Promotion
Come for the report card, stay for the picture of Jake Nerwinski
Best of the Rest
The Province has their own recap from Wednesday
A reminder from Between The Sticks that it probably will be tough to judge this loss until we have the context of the rest of the season
Somehow it is only the midseason point in the MLS season and here are the Caps’ midterm grades
Decision Day will be November 8 and the Caps will remain at Providence Park for the rest of their “home matches”
How MLS is getting creative to sell its players overseas, from The Athletic